Uplift Brings Innovative Travel Payment Solution to Canada – Press Release

About us

We are a diverse team of travel technologists, digital marketers and fintech experts, united in our passion for travel as an essential dimension of the human experience.

Our mission is to make travel more accessible, affordable and rewarding for all consumers, while driving tremendous financial results for the world’s leading travel brands.

With a proven, flexible, pay-over-time travel financing solution designed to seamlessly integrate with a travel provider’s existing website or workflow, as well as a hybrid online/offline solution custom-tailored for travel agents and call centers, travel financing through Uplift facilitates higher conversion, increased ancillary uptake and cart size gains across every travel industry segment.

At Uplift, we’re helping millions of people turn their travel dreams into reality. If our mission resonates with you, we invite you to contact us about joining the Uplift team.

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LEADERSHIP TEAM

About Brian Barth

Brian drives business and product strategy, forges and manages relationships with key partners and investors, and sets the company’s cultural tone. Prior to co-founding Uplift, Brian was a co-founder, CEO and Director of SideStep, which invented travel meta-search in 1999. SideStep was acquired by Kayak in 2007, which in turn was acquired by Priceline for $1.8B in 2013. Brian has been a board member and advisor of numerous startups and holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

Brian Barth
CEO

Brian drives business and product strategy, forges and manages relationships with key partners and investors, and sets the company’s cultural tone. Prior to co-founding Uplift, Brian was a co-founder, CEO and Director of SideStep, which invented travel meta-search in 1999. SideStep was acquired by Kayak in 2007, which in turn was acquired by Priceline for $1.8B in 2013. Brian has been a board member and advisor of numerous startups and holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

About Brian Barth
About Rob Soderbery

Rob is responsible for development, business and financial operations. Prior to his role as President, Rob was the SVP and GM for Enterprise Products at Cisco, encompassing $25B in revenue responsibility. Earlier in his career, Rob served in executive roles at Symantec and Veritas Software. Rob serves as an advisor to numerous startups. Rob holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Caltech and an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Rob Soderbery
President

Rob is responsible for development, business and financial operations. Prior to his role as President, Rob was the SVP and GM for Enterprise Products at Cisco, encompassing $25B in revenue responsibility. Earlier in his career, Rob served in executive roles at Symantec and Veritas Software. Rob serves as an advisor to numerous startups. Rob holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Caltech and an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University.

About Rob Soderbery
About Tom Botts

Tom joined Uplift from Miraval Group, where he served as SVP and CMO, ultimately successfully selling the brand and resorts to Hyatt Hotels. Prior to Uplift, Tom held executive positions across the airline, hotel, and online intermediary industries, including at Denihan Hospitality, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Hotwire.com. Tom was also the co-founder and managing partner of Hudson Crossing, LLC. Tom sits on the board of directors or advisory boards of several companies, including Adara Media, Duetto Research, Hudson Crossing, and Rocketmiles (acquired by Priceline). He holds a BS in Logistics and Marketing from the University of Missouri.

Tom Botts
Chief Commercial Officer

Tom joined Uplift from Miraval Group, where he served as SVP and CMO, ultimately successfully selling the brand and resorts to Hyatt Hotels. Prior to Uplift, Tom held executive positions across the airline, hotel, and online intermediary industries, including at Denihan Hospitality, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Hotwire.com. Tom was also the co-founder and managing partner of Hudson Crossing, LLC. Tom sits on the board of directors or advisory boards of several companies, including Adara Media, Duetto Research, Hudson Crossing, and Rocketmiles (acquired by Priceline). He holds a BS in Logistics and Marketing from the University of Missouri.

About Tom Botts
About Stu Kelly

Stu is responsible for technical direction and architecture at Uplift. He has over 30 years of experience in technology as an engineer, co-founder and advisor. Prior to co-founding Uplift, Stu co-founded SideStep, where he was the CTO. Stu has also served as an advisor for multiple start-ups. He holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Stu Kelly
CTO

Stu is responsible for technical direction and architecture at Uplift. He has over 30 years of experience in technology as an engineer, co-founder and advisor. Prior to co-founding Uplift, Stu co-founded SideStep, where he was the CTO. Stu has also served as an advisor for multiple start-ups. He holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

About Stu Kelly
About Wayne Muesse

Wayne oversees all aspects of Uplift’s customer support and operations. Before joining Uplift, he managed core engineering teams at TiVo, SideStep and Netscape. In his early career, Wayne focused on object and relational database development at IBM and Informix. Wayne holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Wayne Muesse
COO

Wayne oversees all aspects of Uplift’s customer support and operations. Before joining Uplift, he managed core engineering teams at TiVo, SideStep and Netscape. In his early career, Wayne focused on object and relational database development at IBM and Informix. Wayne holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

About Wayne Muesse
About Denise Heffron

Denise is responsible for spear-heading Uplift's expansion into the Canadian market. She is one of Canada's leading travel executives with a proven track record in sales development, growth, and profitability. Prior to joining Uplift, Denise held a number of senior level positions within the Transat organization including Director of Marketing, General Manager and Vice President Commercial. She is a well-known contributor to the industry and has served as a board member for the Travel Industry Council of Ontario and the Canadian Association of Tour Operators. Denise holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Western Ontario.

Denise Heffron
Managing Director, Canada

Denise is responsible for spear-heading Uplift's expansion into the Canadian market. She is one of Canada's leading travel executives with a proven track record in sales development, growth, and profitability. Prior to joining Uplift, Denise held a number of senior level positions within the Transat organization including Director of Marketing, General Manager and Vice President Commercial. She is a well-known contributor to the industry and has served as a board member for the Travel Industry Council of Ontario and the Canadian Association of Tour Operators. Denise holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Western Ontario.

About Denise Heffron
About William De Guia

William is responsible for payments strategy and innovation at Uplift. He has 20+ years’ experience in payments spanning roles at merchant/acquirer, network/scheme, and issuer shops. William joined Uplift from Yapstone, a Payment Facilitator supporting large rent and vacation rental eCommerce marketplaces like HomeAway. At Yapstone William served as Global Product Head of Payments and Payouts. Prior to Yapstone William was at Blackhawk Network where he built an Issuer Processor supporting Prepaid Card payment processing in the United States, Canada, and UK. William also managed Healthcare Prepaid Products at Wells Fargo Bank and has held various roles at Visa.

William De Guia
Head of Payments

William is responsible for payments strategy and innovation at Uplift. He has 20+ years’ experience in payments spanning roles at merchant/acquirer, network/scheme, and issuer shops. William joined Uplift from Yapstone, a Payment Facilitator supporting large rent and vacation rental eCommerce marketplaces like HomeAway. At Yapstone William served as Global Product Head of Payments and Payouts. Prior to Yapstone William was at Blackhawk Network where he built an Issuer Processor supporting Prepaid Card payment processing in the United States, Canada, and UK. William also managed Healthcare Prepaid Products at Wells Fargo Bank and has held various roles at Visa.

About William De Guia
About Varun Jain

Varun is responsible for managing the P&L of the lending business at Uplift, including credit, fraud, strategic finance, analytics and lending enablement. Prior to joining Uplift, Varun was a senior engagement manager in McKinsey & Company's fintech practice. He also spent a number of years in finance in New York as well as India. Varun holds a BA in Applied Mathematics and in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Varun Jain
General Manager, Lending

Varun is responsible for managing the P&L of the lending business at Uplift, including credit, fraud, strategic finance, analytics and lending enablement. Prior to joining Uplift, Varun was a senior engagement manager in McKinsey & Company's fintech practice. He also spent a number of years in finance in New York as well as India. Varun holds a BA in Applied Mathematics and in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

About Varun Jain
About Terri Zelmer

Terri is responsible for global talent acquisition, strategy and operations. She has extensive experience building the talent function in hyper-growth startup organizations. Her prior talent leadership includes building customer-centric, high-performing talent functions focused on strategic sourcing and operational excellence. Terri holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley in English Language and Literature, and an MS from Golden Gate University in Organizational Behavior and HR Management.

Terri Zelmer
Head of Talent

Terri is responsible for global talent acquisition, strategy and operations. She has extensive experience building the talent function in hyper-growth startup organizations. Her prior talent leadership includes building customer-centric, high-performing talent functions focused on strategic sourcing and operational excellence. Terri holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley in English Language and Literature, and an MS from Golden Gate University in Organizational Behavior and HR Management.

About Terri Zelmer
About Darren Noy

Darren leads Uplift’s product team. Prior to joining Uplift, Darren was a co-founder of Kannetic, a collective intelligence platform. Darren has also held product leadership roles at Symantec and was a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company. Darren holds a PhD in Sociology, and has served as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and Sonoma State University.

Darren Noy
Head of Product

Darren leads Uplift’s product team. Prior to joining Uplift, Darren was a co-founder of Kannetic, a collective intelligence platform. Darren has also held product leadership roles at Symantec and was a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company. Darren holds a PhD in Sociology, and has served as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and Sonoma State University.

About Darren Noy

COMMERCIAL TEAM

About Rob Borden

Rob comes from a diverse travel and technology background.  Most recently, Rob was responsible for Customer Marketing, Loyalty and E-Commerce at Carnival Cruise Line. Prior to that, Rob was CMO of Points International as well as Global Head of Relationship Marketing and Business Intelligence for Microsoft’s consumer online products and services. Rob also spent several years as President of Delta SkyMiles and began his career with American Airlines in a number of Revenue Management, Customer Experience and International Alliances roles. Rob holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Rob Borden
Vice President, Commercial

Rob comes from a diverse travel and technology background.  Most recently, Rob was responsible for Customer Marketing, Loyalty and E-Commerce at Carnival Cruise Line. Prior to that, Rob was CMO of Points International as well as Global Head of Relationship Marketing and Business Intelligence for Microsoft’s consumer online products and services. Rob also spent several years as President of Delta SkyMiles and began his career with American Airlines in a number of Revenue Management, Customer Experience and International Alliances roles. Rob holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

About Rob Borden
About Chris Stacey

Chris develops and manages relationships with Uplift’s travel supplier partners. Prior to joining Uplift, Chris was a director at Allegiant Air, where he was responsible for forging and managing relationships with travel companies that ranged from The Walt Disney Company to Starwood Hotels and Resorts to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Chris holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Utah.

Chris Stacey
Vice President, Commercial

Chris develops and manages relationships with Uplift’s travel supplier partners. Prior to joining Uplift, Chris was a director at Allegiant Air, where he was responsible for forging and managing relationships with travel companies that ranged from The Walt Disney Company to Starwood Hotels and Resorts to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Chris holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Utah.

About Chris Stacey
About Ron Fenska

Ron is a Travel Industry Sales Leader with 25+ years of global experience in cruise and tour operation. Ron's innovative strategies help to manage rapid growth, penetrate new segments, and leverage new distribution channels. His well-established network of industry relationships within Consortia and Trade has helped foster many long-standing partnerships focused on mutual success. He holds a BS in Law from Rowan University and has numerous sales, managerial and travel certificates.

Ron Fenska
Vice President, Commercial

Ron is a Travel Industry Sales Leader with 25+ years of global experience in cruise and tour operation. Ron's innovative strategies help to manage rapid growth, penetrate new segments, and leverage new distribution channels. His well-established network of industry relationships within Consortia and Trade has helped foster many long-standing partnerships focused on mutual success. He holds a BS in Law from Rowan University and has numerous sales, managerial and travel certificates.

About Ron Fenska

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

About Kevin Krone

Kevin Krone has over 25 years of experience at Southwest Airlines. As vice president and chief marketing officer, he is responsible for all aspects of Southwest’s marketing strategy and execution, including the oversight of the company’s brand development, advertising, promotions, mobile and digital strategy and execution. Prior to his promotion to vice president and chief marketing officer, Krone led marketing, sales and distribution at Southwest. Krone also oversaw the re-launch of the improved Rapid Rewards loyalty program in 2011, which powers one of the most successful VISA© co-brand credit card programs in the world.

Kevin Krone
Fmr. CMO, Southwest Airlines

Kevin Krone has over 25 years of experience at Southwest Airlines. As vice president and chief marketing officer, he is responsible for all aspects of Southwest’s marketing strategy and execution, including the oversight of the company’s brand development, advertising, promotions, mobile and digital strategy and execution. Prior to his promotion to vice president and chief marketing officer, Krone led marketing, sales and distribution at Southwest. Krone also oversaw the re-launch of the improved Rapid Rewards loyalty program in 2011, which powers one of the most successful VISA© co-brand credit card programs in the world.

About Kevin Krone
About Alexander Rosen

Alexander Rosen is a Managing Director with Ridge Ventures (fka IDG Ventures USA). He has been an investor and “consigliere” to early-stage technology entrepreneurs for over 20 years. Today, he focuses on investments in cloud infrastructure, SaaS applications, ad tech, and consumer marketplaces. Alex currently serves as board director at Chubbies(e-commerce for the weekend), Minted(design-driven e-commerce marketplace), Outlier (automated business analysis), Smartling (translation management SaaS), SafeGraph(ground truth dataset for human movement), Tempered Networks (security for industrial IoT), Uplift (payment management and marketing for online merchants) and YouEarnedIt (employee engagement platform).

Alexander Rosen
Managing Director, Ridge Ventures

Alexander Rosen is a Managing Director with Ridge Ventures (fka IDG Ventures USA). He has been an investor and “consigliere” to early-stage technology entrepreneurs for over 20 years. Today, he focuses on investments in cloud infrastructure, SaaS applications, ad tech, and consumer marketplaces. Alex currently serves as board director at Chubbies(e-commerce for the weekend), Minted(design-driven e-commerce marketplace), Outlier (automated business analysis), Smartling (translation management SaaS), SafeGraph(ground truth dataset for human movement), Tempered Networks (security for industrial IoT), Uplift (payment management and marketing for online merchants) and YouEarnedIt (employee engagement platform).

About Alexander Rosen
About Deepak Jagannathan

Deepak is a rogue scientist turned venture capitalist focusing on investments in Data, Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and other frontier technologies at Draper Nexus. In addition to serving on the board at Uplift, he serves as a board advisor to Sight Machine (Industrial IoT), Haven(Supply Chain Management) and Payjoy (Financial Services) and co-led the investments in Nauto (A.I. for Transportation) and Cyphy (Enterprise Drone Solutions).

Deepak Jagannathan
Principal, Draper Nexus

Deepak is a rogue scientist turned venture capitalist focusing on investments in Data, Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and other frontier technologies at Draper Nexus. In addition to serving on the board at Uplift, he serves as a board advisor to Sight Machine (Industrial IoT), Haven(Supply Chain Management) and Payjoy (Financial Services) and co-led the investments in Nauto (A.I. for Transportation) and Cyphy (Enterprise Drone Solutions).

About Deepak Jagannathan